Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum is set to open next Monday, coinciding with the end of lockdown. To celebrate, the museum is bringing five new exhibitions to the public, that span photography, design, music, ceramics and applied arts.
Powerhouse Chief Executive, Lisa Havilah, says the exhibitions underline the desire the museum holds to be a cultural icon beyond the pandemic.
“The Powerhouse is thrilled to be able to welcome visitors back to the museum. To celebrate this moment, we will be unveiling five new exhibitions, the first step in the vision for a reimagined Powerhouse,” she says.
Please find a short description for each of the exhibitions below.
Eucalyptusdom (pictured above)
Eucalyptusdom reckons with our cultural history and ever-changing relationship with the gum tree, from Indigenous culture through to its influence on Federation arts and crafts. The exhibition presents over 400 objects from the Powerhouse Collection alongside 17 newly commissioned works by creative practitioners working across the fields of design, architecture, film, applied arts and performance, with SJB’s Richard Leplastrier AO, Jack Gillmer and Adam Haddow and Vania Contreras all working to bring the exhibition to life.
Robert Rosen: Glitterati
Over four decades, Robert Rosen attended glittering parties, concerts, fashion events and nightclubs across Australia, London and Europe, capturing the rich, famous and fabulous for the fashion and social pages of an array of newspapers and magazines. Defying the perceived image of the pushy, intrusive paparazzi, his polite and discrete approach earned him the respect and trust of his subjects. Glitterati will present over 300 photographs and will include images from Rosen’s early career in London and Paris capturing the fashion shows of iconic designers like Yves Saint Laurent, Claude Montana and Zandra Rhodes, as well as a number of backstage photos from Australian Fashion Week.
Electric Keys will showcase over 20 keyboards from the Powerhouse collection, surveying the journey of electric keyboards and the instrument's contribution to music. The collection will explore the evolution of the keyboard, from the 17th century to the present, and its influence on the genres of soul jazz, blues, funk, rock, progressive rock to pop and hip-hop. Highlight objects on display include a 1974 electric piano ‘Wurlitzer 200A’, as heard performed by the Queen bassist John Deacon in You’re My Best Friend; and a 1982, Roland SH-101 monophonic synthesizer, producing the iconic baseline in Sweet Dreams by the 1980 pop duo Eurythmics.
Clay Dynasty will present more than 400 works from the Powerhouse collection, featuring 70 new commissions and acquisitions from Australian artists. Surveying over 50 years of practice as shaped by three generations of makers, the exhibition features works by pioneer potters who profoundly changed the course of Australian studio ceramics in the 1960s, using local materials and responding to the Australian environment. Objects from the 1970s will illustrate the impact of American Funk art movement and popular culture in Australia, while works from the 1980s will reveal how Australian artists explored the vessel tradition through postmodern forms, colours and patterns. Contemporary clay works will also be featured.
Graphic Identities will present work by eight celebrated 20th century designers Gordon Andrews, Douglas Annand, Frances Burke, Dahl Collings, Shirley de Vocht, Pieter Huveneers (Tooth and Co), Arthur Leydin and Alistair Morrison. The design archives from the Powerhouse collection reflect a wide range of disciplines and pre-digital media used by the designers across advertising, publishing, fine art and textiles. The designers drew inspiration from Australian flora and fauna, as well as local and international collaborations, working alongside artists such as Bauhaus designer Lászlo Moholy-Nagy and painter Russell Drysdale AC.
For more information regarding the Powerhouse’s reopening, head to www.maas.museum.